Many people use meditation-techniques to improve their performance in job and to have a more balanced live in general. And it seems to work–that's what many say and what science proves. But could meditation help to improve your photography? Let's have a look!
Keep the Focus – No matter what is going on
Photography itself has a meditatively aspect as it forces you to focus. But to many photographers it is very difficult to be focused longer than some minutes or even seconds. The mind is zapping around from watching Star Wars the night before, to worries about tomorrows meeting or it is attrackted by something happening in the current moment. It's so easy to follow every stimulus and every thought but so difficult to stay focused on a subject. So when you are out for street photography or in nature to grab some great landscapes and your mind is not fully present, you won't get the great photos you are looking for–probably they will be just mediocre. But they will be great or at least much better when you are fully focused on your photography–when you're in "The Zone". Than everything will go smoothly and with ease. You can dive deeper in the scene and you are more able to catch the specific vibes of the current moment. Well known street photographers like Valerie Jardin, Eric Kim or Thomas Leuthard agree with that and say that focus/concentration is essential to their work.
The Zone – Immerse in what you are doing
Our brains activities can be meassured in brain waves. While delta and theta waves are the state of deep sleep and dreeming, gamma waves are on the opposite end of the range and appear when one reacts on acute danger. Beta waves are the normal state during the day and to most people even the upper range of beta. The upper beta range is a state of being we know as "stress" and hence a state of reacting to your invironment rather than creating something new. The alpha brain wave range in contrast, which is below beta, is where you are awake and fully aware of the things around you. But at the same time you are well-balanced, creative, free of any stress and–able to be fully focused. This state is often called "The Zone". It's a state some marathon runners know and also people with profound meditation experiences are able to enter and to hold this state.
So "The Zone" is not only a state of being focused, but also of being creative. What else would you need as a photographer? But how to enter it? You could consider to run a marathon before taking photos, but there might be another way: meditation-techniques! When practising meditation the stream of thoughts slows down or can even stop. It takes some time to learn meditation, but many techniques are well-proven by people doing meditation and science.
One easy and simple technique for example is breathing-meditation:
Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Feel that soft sensation when the air streams in through your nose and softly flows through your throat and into your lungs. Feel it leaving again on the same way, warm and soft. When a thought comes up in your mind, try to let it go and turn your attention back to breathing. Stay calm and don't be upset when a thought distracts you, just carry on. When you feel that the time is right, open your eyes again and try to hold on to the sensation from your meditation for as long as possible.
When you're exercising this meditation for some weeks, you will be able to use it when doing photography. It will help you to be more focused and will change your photos.
Read more in my free eBook "Keep the Focus – A Meditation Guide for Street Photographers".